Bogotá is bursting at the seams with artistic offerings, from independent galleries and cultural centres to art workshops and alternative museums. The city offers something for everyone’s tastes, you just need to know where to find it. Away from the main museums and larger galleries, Liliana Sánchez provides a round-up of some of the best our beloved metropolis has to offer
Films, food, art and more
KB: An intimate space with a variety of exhibitions from Colombian and international artists, it also has a café and bar – serving up delicious gin and tonics on a cosy terrace. There are occasional party nights and even pub quizzes.
Calle 74 #22-20 / 6459156
NADA: Located on the second floor of Cine Tonala, this one-room gallery offers monthly exhibitions, showcasing work from up-and-coming local artists.
Carrera 6 #35-37 / 5603894
La REDada: Defining itself as ‘cultural miscellany’, La REDada is a space for exhibitions, video and film screenings, concerts, theatre and workshops, encompassing a number of artistic collectives. Relax in one of their three patios and enjoy delicious homemade bread from their kitchen.
Calle 17 #2-51 / 3422107
Espacio Odeón: With a diverse offering of contemporary art, Odeón hopes to promote the city’s current crop of artists. Located in the emblematic and tastefully refurbished Teatro Popular, this is a great cultural space in the heart of Candelaria. It is also available to rent for events.
Carrera 5 #12c-73 / 7437064
Hidden cultural gems
Museo Quinta de Bolivar: Previously Simón Bolívar’s country estate, where he would often retreat after military victories, this finca then became a girls’ school, a pita (fermented beverage) brewery, a tannery and a hospital. It has since been restored to resemble Bolívar’s original home and includes one of the city’s most spectacular gardens to relax in.
Calle 21 #4a-30 Este / 3366419
Claustro de San Agustin: This colonial building in the heart of Bogotá is now part of the Universidad Nacional, used as a museum and cultural centre, offering workshops, talks and also film screenings. The refurbished building has a beautiful central patio and traditional colonial arches.
Carrera 8 #7-21 / 3422340
Iglesia de Santa Clara: One of Bogotá’s oldest churches, which now houses a museum of religious art, is perhaps more worth a visit for the stunning 17th century baroque architecture.
Carrera 8 #8-91 / 3416017
FLORA ars+natura: A contemporary artistic space that explores the relationship between art and nature, which offers residencies (in FLORA’s Honda home, in Tolima), commissioned exhibitions and courses for artists. It includes a library, a small auditorium, a beautiful garden, an audiovisual space and a studio.
Calle 77 #20c-48 / 6751425
All of these independent artistic spaces require you to make an appointment prior to visiting:
El Parche: This Oslo-based artistic collective seeks to promote and collaborate with Latin American and African artists in order to stimulate artistic production and exchange ideas. Bogotá is home to their only international residency program, creating a cultural space where visiting artists and curators work with local artists and communities, culminating in an exhibition.
Carrera 9 #22-87, apto 202 / 2861544
El Mentidero: Offering residencies and a living space for artists of all types, this townhouse puts on various exhibitions. According to their website it is “an exhibition space… selling religious artifacts for non-believers, a set for unrelated relationships. Market without marketing. Use and disuse… El Mentidero is inhabited by insatiable and problematic artists, chefs with PhDs, broke students and broken teachers. Behind these doors a new school is being formed.” Confused?
Calle 21 #5-59, apto 301 / 313 6541876
La Ramona Proyectos: A collaborative contemporary art centre, focusing on a critical reflection of daily life. Regular investigative exhibitions, drawing workshops, live music and a space dedicated to comics and graphic art.
Carrera 5 #18-54, Local 404 / 311 4966597
Rat Trap: In the sleepy neighbourhood of Teusaquillo sits Rat Trap, a unique space dedicated to punk music and prints. Including a recording studio, rehearsal room and an exhibition space, this is so much more than a simple gallery. There are print-making workshops, concerts and awesome t-shirts.
Carrera 17 #33a-31 / 6057710
Museo del Vidrio: MEVIBO is both a virtual and physical museum dedicated to glassware, including several community and educational projects – history, investigation and exhibitions.
Carrera 1a #6c-75 Sur / 4646011
Permanente: An independent, non-profit artistic space that aims to provide an alternative to contemporary commercial art. Intertwining various methods of creating and conceptualising art, it aims to promote new and unique processes. It offers residency exchanges with similar organisations around the world in an effort to take Colombian independent art to the international stage.
Carrera 22 #75-08 / 313 3660773
Artestudio: An art and dance school that offers a number of contemporary art exhibitions as well as dance performances.
Carrera 8b #57-32 / 6613281
NEST Art Center: Modern art exhibitions and arty events, as well as plenty of workshops and cultural projects. NEST also includes a fantastic library and offers talks and discussions.
Carrera 17 #30-54 / 4661420
Nueveochenta: Although this contemporary Latin art gallery, which has links with many international galleries, has been around since 2007, it recently moved to a new location in Chapinero. The space includes an exhibition room and El Patio – an intimate garden which houses artistic proposals for a period of roughly two months, which aim to work with the characteristics of the space itself.
Diagonal 68 #12-42 / 6495478
By Liliana Sánchez
You’re missing the two most important galleries in Colombia: Casa Reigner and Instituto de Vision.